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Faith Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

Practice makes perfect.

Joshua 4:9–14 (ESV)

And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the covenant had stood; and they are there to this day. For the priests bearing the ark stood in the midst of the Jordan until everything was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to tell the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua.

The people passed over in haste. And when all the people had finished passing over, the ark of the LORD and the priests passed over before the people. The sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh passed over armed before the people of Israel, as Moses had told them. About 40,000 ready for war passed over before the LORD for battle, to the plains of Jericho. On that day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel, and they stood in awe of him just as they had stood in awe of Moses, all the days of his life.

As He promised to do, the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel. While the first purpose of this miracle was to strengthen the faith of the Israeli army, it also served to solidify Joshua’s position as their leader. They had totally looked up to Moses. His command was never questioned. That was helpful.

But now, their allegiance to Joshua is less solid. Some of them made an emphatic pledge to follow him in Joshua 1:16–18, and even talked about forcing allegiance in others, but why say that if everyone’s on board? What Joshua needs is nationwide allegiance that isn’t forced.

And this miracle does the trick—permanently. All of Israel stood in awe of him just as they had stood in awe of Moses, all the days of his life.

What’s especially good about this is that Joshua’s plan for crossing the Jordan seemed a bit nutty from a secular point of view. Presumably, there were plenty of people who were unsure how this would play out. Even if they kept silent about it, they had plenty of doubts.

Now they don’t.

That’s good, because more seemingly nutty plans are coming. Having pulled this one off though, all is set. They’ll follow Joshua’s seemingly nutty plans because they’ve already seen one of them work.

The same principle applies to Christianity. Loving your enemy is pretty nutty too. To do that you have to do more than just believe; you have to believe in your heart (Romans 10:9a).

Faith comes in all shapes and sizes. You can have faith and still not have the kind of faith that enabled Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand to love their enemies in a way that seems impossible—and insane.

Faith like that comes through practice. You can’t be talked into it, nor talk yourself into it. You have to live it, see it, cross your Jordans with it. God has to reveal himself to you.

Only then can you really know, in your heart, in your bones, that it’s all true.

These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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